Bright Side

Have a Look at This Strange Script That Helps You Take Notes Faster

We often take for granted just how easy it is to “take notes” these days. Not only can you record audio or even take a video, but teachers can also share their presentations online. It makes you wonder how people survived when they actually had to put pen to paper. But history is surprising...people had their own secret writing system to make note-taking even easier.

We at Bright Side love writing and we certainly love writers, so we’re sharing the interesting history of one secret reporting gem and how it has grown and changed over the years.

You may have heard the expression of people writing in “shorthand.” This writing system is the origin of the phrase, designed to be faster for people than writing in cursive. Here’s an example of what this method looks like, as was developed by John Robert Gregg from his book, Gregg Shorthand; A Light-Line Phonography for the Million.

These images might look like foreign hieroglyphics at first, but it’s not as complicated as it looks. Gregg’s idea was to use symbols that represent sounds instead of traditional letters, reducing them to the simplest forms possible. This came in handy since letters can make more than one sound. For example, a “K” sound was used for both a “hard C” and the letter “K.”

The length could change the sound of each symbol represented. A diagonal line extending one space first made the “T” sound, but making the line longer changed it into a “D” sound. To make things even simpler, some common words like “it,” “the,” “to,” and “for” also had their own symbols. The system was effective.

Once a person learns how to use this system, they could write around 280 words per minute! Keep in mind, the average person speaks at a rate of 125 to 150 words a minute. As you can guess, writing in shorthand became an integral part of various careers where notetaking was important, such as jobs in legal, medical and secretarial fields.

What are some things you do to make note-taking easier? Please share your methods with us in the comments!